A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

Joseph M. Bagley

A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

Joseph M. Bagley

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

224 pages | 153 color plates | 7 x 10
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781684580781 Will Publish September 2021
A new edition of a bestselling book looking at the history of Boston through fifty artifacts.
 
Joseph M. Bagley, the city archaeologist of Boston, uncovers a fascinating hodgepodge of history—from ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts—that will surprise and delight even longtime residents. Each artifact is shown in full color with a description of the item’s significance to its site location and Boston’s larger history. From cannonballs to drinking cups and from ancient spears to chinaware, A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts offers a unique and accessible introduction to Boston’s history and physical culture while revealing the ways objects can offer a tantalizing entrée into our past. Packed with vivid descriptions and art, this lively history of Boston will appeal to all manner of readers, locals, and visitors alike. This new edition showcases an important fact which has come to light since its first publication, that a chapter about a cat has now been shown to be a dog, thus demonstrating the perils of the archaeologist.
 
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction

PART 1: SHAWMUT: THE TIME BEFORE BOSTON (12,000–400 BP)
1. Mattapan Banded Rhyolite
2. Neville Point
3. Fishweir Stakes
4. Native Pottery
5. Fish Spear
6. Massachusett Weaving
7. Arrowhead

PART 2: PURITANICAL FOUNDATIONS (1629–1700)
8. Trade Weight
9. Stone from Great House
10. Portuguese Plate
11. Chamber Pot
12. Whipworm Egg
13. Sleeve
14. Bowling Ball
15. Plate
16. Child’s Shoe
17. Fruit Pits
18. Bellarmine Bottle
19. Lace
20. Red-Clay Pipe

PART 3: FROM COLONIST TO REBEL (1700–1775)
21. Cat Skeleton
22. Whizzer
23. Porcelain Tea Bowl and Saucer
24. Redware Waster
25. Parker-Harris Mug
26. Bottle Seal
27. Soldering Iron
28. Teapot

PART 4: CONFLICT AND WAR (1765–1783)
29. Gunflint
30. Bar Shot
31. Charcoal
32. Powder House Brick

PART 5: A CHANGING CITY IN A CHANGING WORLD (1780–1983)
33. Massachusetts Cent
34. Sail Needle
35. Tortoiseshell Comb
36. Shell-Edge Pearlware
37. Cowbell
38. Nib
39. New York Militia Button
40. Vaginal Syringe
41. Love Token
42. Horse Blinder
43. Rock and Tar Bottle
44. Hebrew Prayer Book
45. Lady’s Wallet
46. Comb
47. Red Sox Pin
48. Cop and Robber Toy and Bell
49. Lipstick
50. Showtime Token

Conclusion: The Future of Archaeology in Boston
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Review Quotes
New Boston Post
“Bagley is wry and witty . . . demonstrating superior deductive skills and rousing the public to see the value of their past around them.”
Boston Magazine
“City archaeologist Bagley has a special way of bringing Boston's evolution to life. In A History of Boston in 50 Objects, Bagley delivers a tangible take on our past through a collection of stunning portraits of things that have been unearthed here.”
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